Serbia’s opposition Freedom and Justice Party (SSP) and civil association “1 in 5 million” issued separate statements on Friday saying Finance Minister Sinisa Mali reduced money for the Belgrade University (BU) for 525 million Dinars (1€ = 118 RSD) in 2020 country’s budget, N1 reported.
SSP said Mali abused his position and “avenged” to the University by cutting down its resources to 18.71 from 19.24 billion RSD.
“With this move of a desperate man, the fake PhD, only confirmed he shouldn’t hold any public post. Neither should other cabinet ministers who voted for such a budget. There is no development budget which reduces money for high education and the future of youths. That’s why BU must get back the budget support,” SSP said.
The civil “1 in 5 million” organisation’s statement said the Minister “abused the office,” and described the decision as a cowardly act and pressure on the University.”
Mali said later on Friday that the SSP President Dragan Djilas was ''a liar," and that the 2020 budget increased the amount for the Belgrade University for 804 million Dinars. "Budget support in 2019 was 10.4 billion and the next year projection put the figure to 11,3 billion Dinars," Mali said.
The organisation also asked if the reduced budget could be seen as a warning to the Rector Ivanka Popovic and the University Professional Ethics Council “to watch out in the future and not even think to deal with the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) Governor Jorgovanka Tabakovic’s diploma, nor with other (Serbian Progressive Party) SNS officials’ degrees.”
That was, they added, a clear sign that the professors should close ranks and protect the reputation of the University which, they said, was defended on Thursday.
The association said it would work on forming an independent commission with the task to investigate all dubious diplomas and doctorates of those in power and opposition.